NEW LENOX – New Lenox board trustees approved an intergovernmental agreement Monday to establish a new consolidated 911 center at Will County’s new sheriff’s department complex, which currently is under construction. The Laraway Communications Center, to be included in the new $30 million complex at Laraway Road and Route 52 in Joliet, is expected to serve 31 government agencies. These include New Lenox and the New Lenox Fire Protection District, as well as Romeoville, Frankfort, the county’s sheriff’s department and the agencies served by the EASCOM center.
The county approved the agreement at its board meeting last Thursday.
Heading the new center will be Brad Veerman, who currently is director of the Lincolnway Public Safety Communications Center, which at present services New Lenox. Lincolnway will close once the new center is operational.
The plans for the new center follow an unfunded state mandate effective at the beginning of last year requiring counties with populations between 250,000 and 1 million to consolidate and reduce dispatch centers by half. Will County will now have three centers, including the city of Joliet’s and WESCOM’s new Plainfield center.
Once approval is received from all interested parties, representatives from each of the agencies will meet Feb. 22 and elect an executive board, New Lenox Trustee Dave Smith said. Smith is chairman of the governance committee for the new entity and wrote its bylaws and the intergovernmental agreement.
The executive board will consist of seven members, including three representing police agencies, three representing fire agencies and a seventh member from the sheriff’s office, according to the agreement.
The agreement also states that each member agency will contribute 10 percent of its share of the initial budget for the first year of operations by June 1.
Smith said the village’s share of the annual $5.3 million budget will be $440,000, slightly more than its contribution to the Lincolnway center.
Each member agency’s share will be determined annually according to its volume of calls to the dispatch center, Smith said. The center will house about 40 to 50 dispatchers and “we are doing our best to keep all our dispatchers,” he said. Smith said that the consolidation process has been a “huge task” and he expects all 31 agencies to be on board before the February meeting. He added that the county “has been a great partner,” especially pertaining to the rent it is asking for the building.
Improvements at Spencer
and Laraway roads
County Board member Ray Tuminello, R-New Lenox, told board trustees Monday that the county is set to start a project to add turn lanes and traffic signals at the intersection of Spencer and Laraway roads.
The project is “fully funded and shovel ready” and will go out to bid Feb. 15, Tuminello said. Construction is expected to start soon after formal approval by the county board at its March meeting, he said.
Traffic congestion and safety concerns expressed by New Lenox School District 122 Superintendent Peggy Manville helped “fast track” the project, Tuminello said. The district’s largest campus – with 1,800 students – is located north of the intersection.
Tuminello said that he would like to see the improvements completed by the beginning of the new school year.